Potty training, or housebreaking, your German Shepherd puppy will be much easier than you might expect. German Shepherds are very smart, and they’re not as stubborn as some smart breeds, so they’re easy to train.
Your pup may have a few “issues” at first, but this is only because he’s a puppy, and puppies have accidents when they’re learning where to go to the bathroom. They can’t just say, “I gotta go,” and don’t know how to let you know (or that they should let you know), so they have accidents. But proper training will break that pattern of accidents and leave you with a potty-trained pup.
The first rule in potty training is no punishment. In recent years most people have started to realize that punishing a pup, particularly for something like peeing in the floor, doesn’t do any good. It can also cause aggression in later life, and can make your potty training task more difficult. So no punishment, ever.
The best way to start potty training your pup is crate training. Your dog will love his crate; many people think it’s cruel to use a crate, but it’s not. Dogs need space and they need to know where their space is.
Crate your dog when you’re not at home, or at night. When you’re home and awake, keep your puppy with you, on a leash, and watch him carefully. When he acts like he needs to go outside, take him out and praise him when he goes. Signs of “I need to go out” include circling and sniffing.
In addition to the crate training, you need to feed your pup at the same time every day, so his system gets used to the routine, and you’ll know when he needs to go out. Feeding him and then taking him out a few minutes later will help him learn what to do and where.
Keep in mind that this takes a lot of your time, up front, and a lot of patience. You may be taking your pup out, and praising him for going, every hour or more often. But you will be rewarded with a housebroken puppy who will become a dog who loves you and does what you teach him to do, because you’ve taken the time to train him well and give him the time and space to learn on his own terms.